The Fire played Mexican club Chivas de Guadalajara to a 1-1 draw at Chivas's training facility Thursday afternoon. Brian McBride opened the scoring in the match, but his first half strike was nullified by a Chivas goal with just moments left in the match.
The Fire played the entire first half with their A-lineup on the field and it paid dividends, as the team looked dangerous throughout the opening 45 minutes. The team broke through in the 41st minute, when defender Wilman Conde picked out Brian McBride with a long ball, allowing the Arlington Heights native to capitalize on poor positioning by the Chivas goalkeeper and chip the ball into the back of the net.
"There were a lot of positives in the first half," Fire Technical Director Frank Klopas said. "We created 3-4 fantastic opportunities and scored a really good goal. It was good to see." The second half saw the Fire make wholesale changes to the lineup - replacing all 11 starters with subs. The new players took some time to adjust to the game but ultimately settled in, creating good ball movement and even hitting the post a couple of times.
"The second half we could have been better with the ball but we played with good effort and had good ideas," Klopas said. "We stayed compact and made it difficult for them to penetrate and that was good to see. This is also an opportunity for [the front office] to have another better look at some guys that can better the team going forward so we can reach the objective of winning a championship."
The reserves did see Chivas equalize with less than a minute left, putting a bitter end to what otherwise was a solid afternoon for the Fire. Forward Adrian Dominguez equalized for the Mexican club, beating a diving Sean Johnson to the left side of the goal with a 25 yard effort.
Chivas did not release their lineup for the match, but Klopas told me that the Mexican side featured five players who typically make the game day roster and six reserves trying to work their way into the team.
Regardless of result, Klopas has been impressed with the attitude and work ethic of the players throughout preseason.
"Overall the attitude of the players has been the best thing," Klopas said. "The important thing is that everybody is working hard every day, not only to get better, but to reach our goal of winning a championship."